Frequency, Intensity, Time And Type Of Tasks Performed During Wildfire Suppression | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2329-6879

Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs
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Research Article

Frequency, Intensity, Time And Type Of Tasks Performed During Wildfire Suppression

Matthew Phillips1,2, Kevin Netto1,3, Warren Payne4, David Nichols2,5, Cara Lord1,2, Neil Brooksbank6 and Brad Aisbett2,7*

1School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic, Australia

2Bushfire Co-Operative Research Centre, East Melbourne, Vic, Australia

3School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia

4Institute for Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Footscray, Vic, Australia

5Country Fire Authority, Burwood East, Vic, Australia

6Tasmania Fire Service, Tas, Australia

7Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Brad Aisbett
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research
Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy
Burwood, Vic, Australia 3125
Tel: +613 9244 6474
Fax: + 61 3 9244 6017
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: March 25, 2015; Accepted date: April 21, 2015; Published date: April 28, 2015

Citation: Phillips M, Netto K, Payne W, Nichols D, Lord C, et al. (2015) Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of Tasks Performed during Wildfire Suppression. Occup Med Health Aff 3:199. doi: 10.4172/2329-6879.1000199

Copyright: ©2015 Phillips M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Objective: To quantify the frequency, intensity, duration, and type of tasks performed by Australian rural fire crews when suppressing wildfires.

Methods: Twenty-eight Australian rural firefighters worked across four, six-hour shifts fighting to curtail the spread of wildfire. Each firefighter wore a heart rate monitor and personal global positioning system (GPS) unit and was followed by a researcher filming their work activity. Video footage of each firefighter was synchronized with their heart rate and GPS data to quantify the frequency, intensity and duration of individual fireground tasks. Fireground tasks were isolated using a previously conducted job task analysis.

Results: Firefighters performed 32 distinct fireground tasks. Task frequencies ranged from once to 103 times per six-hour shift. Individual tasks lasted 4 ± 2 s to 461 ± 387 s, were performed at speeds ranging from 0.12 ± 0.08 m•s-1 to 0.79 ± 0.40 m•s-1 and elicited mean heart rates that ranged between 97 ± 16 beats•min-1 (55.7 ± 8.7 percentage of age-predicted maximum heart rate (HRmax)) and 157 ± 15 beats•min-1 (86.2 ± 10.8%HRmax).

Conclusion: Fireground tasks were, generally speaking, shorter, slower, and elicited lower heart rates than equivalent tasks previously simulated and reported in the literature. The differences between naturally occurring and simulated tasks question the value of isolated task simulations for conducting physical demands analyses en-route to developing job-specific fitness tests.